The aetiology of this affection is somewhat obscure, but in the majority of instances it results from tuberculosis or other disease of the adrenal bodies, perhaps associated with functional or organic change in the neighbouring sympathetic ganglia.

At first no dietetic treatment is required, but in advanced cases there is always weakness of the digestive system, and vomiting may be a common symptom. There is also progressive inanition, which becomes extreme. The diet, therefore, must be of a light and easily digestible character. In some of the advanced cases the best results are obtained from an exclusive milk diet. For others, when milk is not well borne, the diet should consist of beef or mutton broth, with eggs beaten with milk or sherry, gruels with added milk extracts or peptonoids, custard, rennet, milk toast.

Nourishment should be given at short intervals, at least once in three hours, and the patient should be encouraged to take all that he can possibly digest. The intermittent vomiting may necessitate the use of nutrient enemata. Wine or spirits are usually required for tonic and stimulant effect; the special variety is immaterial.